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UN human rights chief meets with Maduro and Guaido as Venezuelans protest over humanitarian crisis

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UN human rights chief meets with Maduro and Guaido as Venezuelans protest over humanitarian crisis
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REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
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Protesters have taken to the streets of Caracas in Venezuela once again to call for their human rights to be protected following a visit from the UN human rights chief.

Michelle Bachelet arrived in Caracas yesterday for a three-day visit ahead of the United Nations Human Rights Council opening as three-week session next week.

Western states are expected to use the session to heap criticism on President Nicolas Maduro, amid the economic meltdown in his nation that has triggered the flight of more than 4 million refugees.

Bachelet, in a speech to the U.N. Human Rights Council in March, said Venezuelan security forces, backed by pro-government militias, had quashed peaceful protests with excessive use of force, killings and torture.

Following the meeting with Bachelet, Maduro said he would take "seriously" her recommendations.

Bachelet also met with opposition leader Juan Guaido. She did not speak publicly about it, but after, Guaido said two members of her team would remain in Venezuela to investigate issues of chronic shortages of food and medicine, along with allegations the Maduro administration violated human rights while cracking down on the opposition.

Guaido, head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly legislature, assumed a rival interim presidency in January, denouncing Maduro as an usurper who had secured re-election last year in a vote widely considered fraudulent.

Maduro, a socialist who says he is the victim of an attempted U.S.-led coup, retains the support of the armed forces and control of state functions.